From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <>
Replying To: Tyler Close <>
Date: 11 Dec 2002 10:04:09 -0500
Subject: Re: [e-lang] Naming Capability Systems

With respect to the participants, I will not participate in any renaming
of the "capability" concept,  and I will on occasion publicly deprecate
any such renaming. It will become necessary, when asked, for me to say
that the E community is simply using traditional capabilities, and
changed terms largely because they did not understand how information
flow modeling worked.

There is a compelling reason to keep the term capability: it has a long
and basically positive history. 

No compelling reason has been articulated that justifies a change of

1. The conversation on this list notwithstanding, the bulk of the world
has no idea what a capability is, and therefore has no misunderstanding. 
The existing misunderstandings of a small number of subcommunities is,
in the larger scheme, unimportant.

2. MarkM's objections to the simplifications contained in various formal
models are irrelevant. They reflect a lack of understanding of modeling. 
Changing terms will merely cause the new term to be near-instantaneously
"compromised" by any subsequent formal work.

3. All of the proposed new terms are more awkward than the original. 

4. Reader misunderstanding of the Lampson paper will occur on subsequent
papers as well. Therfore, changing the term will not help. 

In summary, changing terms loses all of the positive benefits of the
existing term while achieving absolutely nothing in the short-, mid-,  or
long-term view. Doing so because of a misunderstanding about how
modeling works is an error on a par with those in the Lampson paper.

Can we stop this and get on with something useful. 

e-lang mailing list